Nick Cannon is calling it quits on “America’s Got Talent.”
The multi-hyphenate superstar has announced that he is leaving the NBC reality competition, which he has hosted since 2009, due to issues its executives had with his new special, “Stand Up, Don’t Shoot” and jokes he’s made about the program.
“I write this from a deeply saddened and dolorous mindset,” Cannon wrote in a lengthy Facebook post. “After days of deliberating over some extremely disappointing news that I was being threatened with termination by Executives because of a comedy special that was only intended to bring communities closer together, I was to be punished for a joke. This has weighed heavy on my spirit. It was brought to my attention by my ‘team’ that NBC believed that I was in breach of contract because I had disparaged their brand. In my defense, I would ask how so? Or is this just another way to silence and control an outspoken voice who often battles the establishment.”
“I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn’t have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property,” he added. “There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity. I have loved hosting AMERICAS GOT TALENT for the last 8 seasons, watching talented, brave, and courageous Americans accomplish their dreams in front of millions has been nothing but a joy, and everyone has been a pleasure to work with but my soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices.”
According to Cannon, this is merely the latest incident in an ongoing battle that he’s faced as the host of the popular show. “Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so called unruly actions. I will not stand for it,” he wrote. “My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head. It’s never been about the money for me, what is difficult to walk away from is the fans, the people who love me on the show. This hurts tremendously. I felt like I was apart of the fabric of our great nation every summer, representing every culture, age, gender, and demographic.”
The actor/rapper/host went on to say he may even retire from the industry altogether. “I wish AGT and NBC the best in its upcoming season but I can not see myself returning,” he wrote. “As of lately I have even questioned if I want to even be apart of an industry who ultimately treats artists in this manner. Most of us don’t realize that there are 6 major corporations that control 90 percent of media in America and the amount of minority executives is dismal. With this being the case, true equality in our industry is impossible.”
During his comedy special, Cannon joked that he couldn’t express himself freely on “America’s Got Talent.” “Sometimes I wish I could say the stuff that I want to say…Y’all see my face on ‘America’s Got Talent,’” he said. “Like, ‘This next crazy motherfucker coming to the stage gon’ be juggling blindfolded with knives and shit, so ni**as, be careful.’ But I can’t say that. I can’t talk like that ’cause that’ll mess up the white money. It will. Shit, I almost fucked it up too, on the finale…I wore a turban on that motherfucker. It was all sparkly and shit. We got all types of calls and complaints and shit like that. Like, ‘Why is Nick Cannon dressed like Blanche from the “Golden Girls?”‘ Shit. It’s my constitutional right to dress like an old white lady if I want to.”
TMZ also reports that the special features a joke about “America’s Got Talent” taking his “black card.”
Recently, Cannon told Howard Stern that he didn’t fear any repercussions from NBC or “America’s Got Talent” for his comedy special. “If they fire me from ‘AGT’ for things I’ve said, I can sue them,” he said. “I can create a whole lot of controversy, like ‘NBC hates black people.’”
Last year, Cannon released his mixtape The Gospel of Ike Turn Up: My Side of the Story.